Roses are Red?

Posted on in Todd Talks by Todd Johnson

Roses are Red?

What is your favorite color?

The science behind how we see color is fascinating. Without getting too specific, light from the sun is made up of white light, which contains all the infinite colors of the color spectrum. White light also comes from things like flames, and most light bulbs. This light is absorbed or reflected by objects. Sometimes all the light is absorbed, and we see black. Other times all that light is reflected, and we see white.

So, when it comes to your favorite sweatshirt, leaves in the summer, or roses, the color your brain is telling you these things are is all wrong. The roses aren't red; they're all colors but red. The red light is being reflected, and all the other colors are being absorbed. If you used a filter to take all the red light out of white light, the rose wouldn't reflect light, and it would look black.

The darker an object is, the more colors (or light) it absorbs. The more light something absorbs, the more energy it absorbs. The more energy it absorbs, the more heat it absorbs. You probably know this because you walked on blacktop barefoot in the summer or leaned on a black car on a sunny day.

Humans can only see part of the color spectrum due to the makeup of our eyes. Other animals like fish or deer see more or different parts of the light spectrum, like ultraviolet light. A black light is UV light. We call it black light because we can't see it. There is a fascinating experiment you can do with a black light, but it needs to be a strong black light. Did you know that you have stripes? If you go into a very dark room with a UV light and a mirror, you might be able to see the stripes on your skin. These stripes are called "Blaschko's Lines" and are believed to be the lines that follow the path of embryonic skin cell migration.

This is all just the tip of the iceberg of how we perceive color and light. There are many experiments you can do on your own that are amazing. You could even study the human eye to better understand the function of its rods and cones that help us detect light and dark, reds, blues, and greens. I will be patiently scouring the internet, looking for your work.